Mikel Obi’s Kuwait Move: Another Chase For The Asian Wealth Three Years After
By Amaechi Agbo
Former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi Thursday completed a surprise one-year deal to join an Asian club Al Kuwait SC of Kuwait three years after leaving that continent.
Mikel Obi’s transfer to Kuwait Sporting Club has to go down as one of the most surprising deal in the summer transfer window, because no one saw it coming.
The former Chelsea midfielder spent last season with English Championship side, Stoke City.
The Nigerian footballer recently triggered a clause in his contract with Stoke City which earned him a year contract extension. But Mikel who joined Stoke from Turkish side,
Trabzonspor cut short the new deal and opted to return to the Asian continent where he previously played for Chinese Super League Tianjin TEDA for two seasons.
Al Kuwait Sporting Club who won the Kuwait Crown Prince Cup last season confirmed the signing of 2016 Olympic medalist on a one-year deal
This is not the first time that John Mikel will be playing in Asia. He had previously played for Tianjin Teda for two years after he left Chelsea in January 2017.
The Nigerian international won several trophies with Chelsea, including the Premier League, Europa League, Champions League and other domestic cups.
The 34-year-old also spent one season with Championship side, Middlesbrough before he left for Turkish side, Trabzonspor. Mikel returned to England in 2020 to join Stoke City .
The deal was shocking to many because John Mikel Obi recently signed a contract extension with English Championship side Stoke City after impressive season.
The transfer however returned Mikel back to Asia, just three years after leaving Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.
Moving to Kuwait could either be right or wrong depending on the side of analyses. But one thing certain is the fact that he still has the qualities and energy to play competitive football in Europe and that was the reason Stoke City offer him an improve deal.
Although many argued that the deal was too good to be ignored, but this isn’t the first time Mikel is prioritising money, it started from when he turned Manchester United to sign for Chelsea and then leaving Chelsea for China when premier league teams showed interest in signing him.
If the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (39), Ronaldo (36) and Messi (34) are still playing at the highest level, then there appears to be no reason Mikel turned 24 in April should move to Kuwait.
Ronaldo, Messi and Zlatan all have offers from these Asian clubs as well, but passion to compete with the best of the best won’t let them leave Europe for a place where football, isn’t even the most popular sports .
Many Nigeria football followers and Mikel’s fans still see him as that Nigerian player, who can play at the highest level for a long time and should have thiught twice before going to Kuwait.
But then, the fear of life after football is the reason African footballers are not seeing at the top for a long time, but they forgot playing in Europe, offers them opportunity for continuous earning if proper structures are put in place.
The likes of Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Pele, Zidane, Raul, Lampard, Gerrard are still making money off the pitch, because they built an image, brands want to associate with.
African players have to learn from this model and invest in their image, instead of sacrificing better part of their career, chasing money in Asia.
At 34, Mikel still has the potential to blossom at the highest level of football but it is obvious, as have been the issue ab nitio, that the quest to acquire “added time wealth” in his career is the llmost objective he terminated Stoke City’s contract to go back to Asia three years after.